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Speculative Job Applications – Basic Top Tips…

What are Speculative Job Applications?

Well, like it or not, not every job vacancy gets advertised. Many positions get filled every day by people who take the initiative and apply directly to the company in the hope that there is a suitable vacancy for them. Although sometimes there is an element of luck in this; the right time and the right place etc, more often than not it works because people don’t just randomly apply for jobs, but instead have a clearly defined plan. To help you create a plan for yourself, we have put together our basic Top Tips for Speculative Job Applications.

Do Your Research

Identify the types of companies who recruit for the type of role you are seeking. Check out what other roles they are recruiting for or have recruited for in the past and see if there are any common skills or qualities they seek in their employees. Check for news articles on what companies are expanding, have secured new contracts or are opening new divisions or departments. Use local papers, industry magazines and periodicals as well as the internet of course. Also always check the company websites to ensure they don’t have a “No Speculative Applications” policy! Always try and draw up a hit list of companies that you are going to target so that you have an organised approach to your job search. Click here for some other tips on organising your jobsearch.

Get a named contact

Getting the name of a person to send your application to is absolutely essential. Sending a generic Dear Sir/ Madam letter to a HR department or just to the company in general will more than likely be ignored. You need to ensure that the recipient of your letter is the decision maker for recruitment. Check the company website or try calling the company or even perhaps use the likes of Linkedin to try and establish a specific name.

The Cover Letter

When applying speculatively you need to ensure that the cover letter which accompanies your CV is doing all it can it sell you, your skills and your experience to the employer. Your cover letter should firstly show that you have researched the company and clarify why you are contacting them specifically. You should also outline the type of role you are looking for and “sell” how your skills and experience will be of benefit to the employer in that type of position. The key thing though is to ensure that you convey how you will add value to the company as opposed to giving the impression that you are simply desperate for a job, even if that is the unfortunate case. For other tips on writing a cover letter, click here.

Use The Post

Most employers receive many more emails every day than they do letters in the post. By posting your speculative application therefore, your application is more likely to stand out and be remembered, which is the whole point of applying “off the cuff” like this. Also, make sure that your presentation is positive and professional by printing your CV and cover letter on good quality paper and sending it unfolded in an A4 envelope.

Follow up

Always follow up your application by calling the person you have written to a few days after you have applied. By following up like this, you are conveying to the employer that you are taking your application seriously and that you are being persistent.
Although this approach may not always work and you may not always get speaking to the decision maker, if you do manage to get it, personal contact like this can certainly boost your chances of success.

The key thing to remember about speculative job applications is that they should not be the sole method you use to find a job,  but should certainly be a useful way of supplementing and assisting your job search.

We’d love to hear your tips on Speculative Job Applications – what has worked for you and what hasn’t! Feel free to let us know via the comments section below.

Need more help on how to Search and Apply for Jobs – you might want to check out TheEmployable ebook.

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3 Responses to “Speculative Job Applications – Basic Top Tips…”

  1. I’m way too mean to post anything unfolded in an A4 envelope and pay the higher postal rate! C5 envelopes travel at normal rates and will allow you to fold your A4 sheets only once. However, the choice is of course yours.

    Posted by LC Jackson | February 11, 2012, 11:08 am


  1. […] Don’t send your CV and cover letter out en masse with no consideration for who is receiving it. Be selective and tailor your letter to suit who you are applying to. A generic Dear Sir/Madam will not get you anywhere these days. Check out some tips on your cover letter here. Most companies too will filter emails and if you have sent out the same email to perhaps hundreds of employers at the same time, chances are your email has straight away been filtered as spam. Check out some tips on speculative applications here. […]

  2. […] is to do what many recruitment consultants would do anyway – start contacting employers on a speculative basis to see if they have any current or imminent vacancies. After all, not every vacancy gets […]

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